Carlin have officially confirmed that Eric Lichtenstein will make the step up from British Formula Ford to race in the GP3 Series with the team next season.

It was reported in September that the Argentinian, who turned 18 last month, would graduate to the Formula 1 support series for 2013 with the British outfit. Since then he has appeared with the squad at the post-season tests in Jerez and Estoril.

His 2012 campaign in Formula Ford was his first full year in single-seaters after starting off in Formula Pilota China in 2011. Although he only finished third in the final standings, he was top rookie and had more wins than anyone else with 11. That included a remarkable eight-race unbeaten streak stretching from the Nurburgring in July to Donington Park at the end of September.

Lichtenstein is the first member of the Velociudad Driver Management Program, created by the company developing a circuit near Buenos Aires that shares a common goal with the young pilot – Formula 1.

Lichtenstein said he was looking forward to being a part of the renowned Carlin setup, and to race the new GP3 car that will introduced for 2013.

“I’m really excited to be joining Carlin for GP3,” he enthused. “I’ve had the chance to complete a few days with the team now and feel like everything fits together really well already.

“Carlin have a great reputation and it’s exciting to look at their past drivers and make the next step in my career with them. GP3 is a very exciting championship and to race on the F1 support package and with the new, more powerful car from next season is extremely exciting.”

Eric Lichtenstein - Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP3 Series Media Service

Lichtenstein on-track at Jerez – Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP3 Series Media Service

Team chief Trevor Carlin said the squad was highly impressed by Lichtenstein’s efforts in testing so far, and is confident about what he can achieve in GP3.

“We’re very happy about Eric joining us for the 2013 season,” said Carlin. “He has been so impressive in testing so far. Considering that Eric has made the big step up from Formula Ford, the progress he has made in his first experience in an aero car has been very impressive.

“He has been very trusting of the downforce and seems to have a natural feel for it. Importantly, he also responds very well to direction and the team have been very impressed with his attitude. I think he could be a real revelation next season.”

Lichtenstein is the first driver to be formally announced by their team for the 2013 GP3 season, although media reports have also already confirmed fellow South American Samin Gomez at Jenzer.